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Surrender? Mississippi flag pusher waves white banner

JACKSON (AP) — A Mississippi lawmaker who has been trying to force universities to fly the Confederate-themed state flag is sending his own silent signal to colleagues.

Without saying a word, Republican Rep. William Shirley went to the front of the House Wednesday and waved two tiny flags — a Mississippi flag, with the Confederate battle emblem in the upper left corner; and a plain white flag.

Was it surrender? Shirley would not explain. Shirley has said universities should fly the flag, whatever the design, if they accept state money.

Mississippi has used the same flag since 1894, and voters kept it in a 2001 election. But all eight public universities, and several cities and counties, have stopped flying it in recent years because of the Confederate emblem that critics see as racist.